Metrolink To Cut Mid-Day & Late Night Runs To SB

(July 16)  San Bernardino County’s transportation agency’s balking at the Southern California Regional Rail Authority’s request for a nearly nine percent increase in funding has resulted in the scheduled reduction of Metrolink service to and from San Bernardino.
Metrolink offers a commuter rail service that runs to and from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles from and to San Bernardino with stops at 27 destinations along the route.
The San Bernardino Associated Governments, known by its acronym SANBAG, is the transportation agency for San Bernardino County. Its governing board consists of a representative from each of the county’s 24 cities as well as all five of the members of the county board of supervisors. SANBAG  is one of five agencies that provides funding for Metrolink service.
Tim Watkins, the public spokesman for SANBAG, told the Sentinel, “Increases in the Metrolink budget for FY 2014/15 translated to a requested increase of 8.8% in SANBAG’s contribution.  As a result of significant demands on resources available to SANBAG to pay for transit operations and maintenance, the board of directors lowered SANBAG’s share to a 3% increase rather than the higher amount requested.  Concurrently, SANBAG asked Metrolink to find ways to streamline costs to manage services within the allocation provided.  Metrolink has chosen to cut service along the San Bernardino line rather than cut in other areas, like administration.”
The Southern California Regional Rail Authority elected to remove two mid-day and two late-night trains from Metrolink’s schedule. Thus, Train 310, which leaves L.A.’s Union Station at 12:20 p.m. and arrives in San Bernardino at 1:50 p.m., and Train 327, which leaves San Bernardino at 2 p.m. and arrives at Union Station at 3:35 p.m. will no longer run. Furthermore, the two latest running excursions, Train 338, which leaves Union Station at 11 p.m. and arrives in San Bernardino at 12:30 a.m., and Train 339, which leaves San Bernardino at 9:05 p.m. and arrives at Union Station at 10:40 p.m. will no longer run. As a consequence, Train 336, which departs from Union Station at 9:30 p.m., will be the last Metrolink train leaving Los Angeles Monday through Friday.  Those missing Train 336 would still have the option of using late running bus line back to San Bernardino County.
Watkins told the Sentinel “We are aware that the San Bernardino line is currently experiencing a decline in ridership, especially in the areas of the mid-day and late-night service and these are the areas targeted for reductions.  Cutting trains with low ridership will help reduce future subsidy demands from Metrolink to SANBAG, and assist SANBAG in managing its limited operations and maintenance resources to the greatest extent possible.  These funds are distributed between Metrolink and Omnitrans primarily for the metro valley area, and increasing budget demands from each entity must be balanced with available resources.”
The schedule changes will go into effect on October 1 and will save the Southern California Regional Rail Authority somewhere in the neighborhood of $600,000 through the current budget cycle.
While SANBAG, which provided $11.5 million toward Metrolink in 2013-14,  did come up with 3 percent more to venture toward operations, it was simply unable to come up with the full sum requested. The Southern California Regional Rail Authority requested 13.5 percent more from Metro in Los Angeles County, 8.5 percent from Orange County, 14 percent from Riverside County and 7.3 percent from Ventura County. All of those entities complied.
The San Bernardino-to-L.A. Metrolink line is the most heavily used route of the system, with 12,000 boardings per day. There are seven Metrolink routes through six counties, spanning 512 miles.

Leave a Reply